WOAH | The 5th Workshop on Online Abuse and Harms


The goal of The Workshop on Online Abuse and Harms (WOAH) is to advance research that develops, interrogates and applies computational methods for detecting, classifying and modelling online abuse. You can see the Proceedings of the 4th Workshop (2020) on the ACL Anthology. Please read, discuss and use!

WOAH 2021 will be colocated with ACL. It will take place from 1st to 6th August in Thailand.


Digital technologies have brought myriad benefits for society, transforming how people connect, communicate and interact with each other. However, they have also enabled harmful and abusive behaviours to reach large audiences and for their negative effects to be amplified, including interpersonal aggression, bullying and hate speech. The negative effects are further compounded as marginalised and vulnerable communities are disproportionately at the risk of receiving abuse. As policymakers, civil society and tech companies devote more resources and effort to tackling online abuse, there is a pressing need for scientific research that critically and rigorously investigates how they are defined, detected, moderated and countered.

For the fourth edition of the Workshop on Online Abuse and Harms (WOAH 4) we advance computational research in online abuse through our theme: Social Bias and Unfairness in Online Abuse Detection. We continue to emphasize the need for inter-, cross- and anti- disciplinary work on online abuse and harms, and invite paper submissions from a range of fields. These include but are not limited to: NLP, machine learning, computational social sciences, law, politics, psychology, network analysis, sociology and cultural studies. Additionally, in this iteration we invite civil society, in particular individuals and organisations working with women and marginalised communities who are often disproportionately affected by online abuse, to submit reports, case studies, findings, data, and to record their lived experiences. We hope that through these engagements we can develop computational tools which address the issues faced by those on the front-lines of tackling online abuse.

Previous iterations of WOAH have been colocated with either EMNLP or ACL (previously, the workshop was known as the Abusive Language Workshop). We have published proceedings from every iteration, which you can find on the ACL Anthology. WOAH welcomes an interdisciplinary mix of perspectives on online abuse and harm.

WOAH 4 has four components:

  1. Regular paper submissions, both short (4 pages) and long (8 pages).

  2. Submissions from civil society (5 to 20 pages). Previously published work can be accepted as a non-archival submission.

  3. Shared Exploration; to get researchers to creatively engage in the problem area.

  4. a multidisciplinary panel discussion.


You can contact the organizers at organizers [at] workshopononlineabuse [dot] com

Our sponsors for WOAH 2020 were:

ACL Anti-Harassment Policy

We abide by the ACL anti-harassment policy outlined here.